Sunday, March 27, 2005

I love the arms and armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The collection highlights include the armor of Emperor Ferdinand I. He must have looked a lot like the tin man from the The Wizard of Oz. The armor for Henry II of France is much more to my liking.

It has long been one of my dreams to slip into a suit of armor and walk around in it, or at least attempt a few steps, providing I know nothing of the fate of the ones who wore it in battle. Mind you, I'd surely invent a story, so knowing a version of the armor's history probably wouldn't hurt. I've often wondered what my breathing would sound like in one of those helmets, if it would quicken. Each breath would hammer the metal, the same place a soldier's breath once hit, and bounce right back. The humidity, the resulting moisture on my face would surely get to me, to my imagination.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "The Skeleton in Armor" after seeing what else but a freshly unearthed skeleton in armor. The notes that follow this poem say the body was buried in a sitting position. The skeleton in armor was just sitting there - buried, but sitting - wearing a brass breastplate and a quiver of brass arrows as everything kept wearing away.

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